Blog Feed

Care Convos April

THE NEXT #CARECONVOS IS MONDAY 6TH APRIL 2020, 8PM AND THE TOPIC IS… **Ongoing relationships with carers and professional**

#CareConvos are delighted that John Radoux will be hosting the March conversations. We are working together to produce what will be a very interesting evening. John will be discussing ongoing relationships with carers and professional. All welcome.

John Radoux is a child psychotherapeutic counsellor, trainer and writer.  He trained at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education and provides therapy for children and young people at a local counselling service, and in schools, on a freelance basis.  John has worked directly with children and young people, who have experienced trauma, for over 16 years, in various roles, in residential children’s homes – including 5 years at a specialist therapeutic community.  Alongside this, for over 10 years he has provided training for children’s social care staff, foster carers and local authorities on topics including developmental trauma, attachment, self-harm, and therapeutic thinking.

He is a regular writer for Community Care magazine on issues related to children in care and has contributed to the BACP CYPF Journal.  He is an active campaigner and authored a letter, signed by 632 experts in children’s social care, calling for an independent review of the children’s social care system.  John, who grew up in care, continues to work part-time, as a carer, in a local children’s home.

Care Convos March

THE NEXT #CARECONVOS IS MONDAY 2ND MAR 2020, 8PM AND THE TOPIC IS… *DISCLOSURE*

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

#CareConvos are delighted that Chloe Juliette will be hosting the March conversations. We are working together to produce what will be a very interesting evening. Chloe will be discussing #Disclosure – discussing how being care experienced affects employment and what benefits/downsides there are to disclosure (see more about Chloe further down the page). All welcome.

Care Experienced people often feel awkward about sharing their past experiences and particularly in a NURSING/social work setting.

Jacqui Gold talks about how for her disclosure was a matter of life or death:

I would imagine, there are a lot of older Care Leavers who had to hide their Care Experience to survive. In 1968 I knew I couldn’t tell anybody I had been in care if I wanted to do Nursing. Secure school and then Mental Hospital. I applied to do the basic State Enrolled training but on interview the Tutor gave me the General Nursing Test to do. Passed highly and was asked if I would consider doing 3-year State egistered Nursing. I was delighted and said yes. References could have been a problem as I had walked out of a Mental Hospital on section after 18 traumatic months, but the factory and my landlady covered those. No police record checks then. I managed to cope, although no support. My two best friends only knew I had a breakdown because this also happened to one of them whilst training. Years later when married with young children I told one of them about approved school. She’s still my friend along with her twin sister. Having no support or knowledge of how to live on my own, budget, socialise with ‘normal people’ was stressful and I was on my guard all the time. I was desperate to keep my rent paid and often went without food and fags walking three miles to work. I worked hard, succeeded, qualified and went on to do postgraduate Mental Health Nursing as well. 

However whilst searching for answers, I got a copy of my Social Work records in 2008 and the last page is a letter from my Social Worker, who I hadn’t seen since 1966. It was addressed to the Headmistress of the secure school saying she was trying to find out where I was and whether I was still on license. This was in 1970. My dear Headmistress told her I was doing well working and studying, she still had contact with me and suggested the Social Worker got in touch with the Mental Hospital for information. The Headmistress said she was unable to give my details to the SW. I was horrified, and if the SW had found out where I was working and tried to contact me via work I would have been sacked from Nursing. That would, I know for definite, meant being on the streets and probably suicide. In 1982 a policeman friend checked the police computer and my offence was still on computer even though technically it had been ‘spent’ and he couldn’t remove it. I eventually had it removed in 2017 by a somebody who was helping me to find my missing brother.

In the late 50’s you were programmed to think that you were a naughty girl once you went into care homes and your life usually was geared to menial work, cleaning, laundry not education. A lot of friends from the secure school never got far but a couple did go to college. 

I feel that everybody needs a point of contact when leaving care. They may be adamant that they don’t want anything to do with Social Work or Mental Health Teams but still need a phone number. This may be difficult as some may see this as invading their personal space. Encouragement and somebody to talk to who understood me has been great.

One abiding memory of kindness was when I had surgery for emergency Appendicitis as a second-year student nurse. Totally alone and terrified in hospital my friends Mother came to visit me bringing Ribena and chocolates and a card. I cried and she didn’t understand why I did. She reassured me and said my friends had told her that I had no useful family, so she thought it was sad and came to see me. She was a lovely lady and always included me when the girls were invited out.

FOLLOW Jacqui ON TWITTER: @sanferryann2

In The Brightness of Stars (2013) part memoir and part collection of stories by care experienced adults, written and put together respectively by Lisa Cherry, she writes:

I’m working as a residential social worker. It’s the early 1990s and I’m studying for a degree and supporting myself by being back in the very places I couldn’t wait to leave: children’s homes.

We have a new boy coming this morning and he’s just arrived. He looks very apprehensive; he appears a little scared and he is clutching his suitcase as if it were a shield that will protect him from whatever is going to happen next. Children in care only ever seem to arrive with one bag, two at the most. I always wondered where all their things were. Mine were in my gran’s loft for years.

As I look at his face I am instantly catapulted back to the very situation I had been in. I’m in the social worker’s care, just like he is. I have no idea what to expect, what awaits me or even where I am going. My eyes well up as I look at him and then I quickly push down this unexpected surge of emotion and remember I am not that child.

I am an adult now and I make the decision there and then to never look at a young person or child in care as in any way connected to me and my experience. I need to be strong, to try and forget about it. Besides, I don’t really want anyone that I work with to know that I too had a life before this day, that I too have been a child in care, sitting in the car waiting to go to the next home.

Follow Lisa Cherry on twitter: @_LisaCherry

Care-Experienced Researcher AND Artist , CHLOE JULIETTE, London

Chloe says:
“I grew up in the care system, just about made it through Uni and onto running a community arts business for a few years. Whilst I was doing that I did some ‘expert by experience’ work and off the back of it, decided to try and improve how service providers engage with the people who use their services. Now I work in research, specialising in engagement, and spend my time trying to reintroduce some humanity into service design and delivery. I’ve gotten so much out of talking to people via #CareConvos and am so excited to be co-hosting in March. I’m really interested in having conversations with everyone in a care experience privileged space.”

You can find Chloe on Twitter: @clohesion

Care Convos February

THE NEXT #CARECONVOS IS THIS MONDAY 3rd Feb 2020, 8PM AND THE TOPIC IS… *wellbeing*

#CareConvos are delighted that Chloe Juliette will be hosting February and March conversations. We really value that Chloe approached us and have worked together to produce what will be a very interesting evening. Chloe will be discussing #Wellbeing – what we mean by wellbeing and what we can do to support the wellbeing of care experienced people. All welcome.

CARE-EXPERIENCED RESEARCHER AND ARTIST , CHLOE JULIETTE, LONDON

Chloe says:
“I was in care age 2ish-18. I dabbled in community arts for a few years before landing in research. To me, research should create positive change and work with/be led by whoever the research is about – giving participants something valuable in return for their knowledge. 

I’ve gotten so much out of talking to people via #CareConvos and am so excited to be co-hosting in February and March. I’m really interested in having conversations with everyone in a care experience privileged space.”

You can find Chloe on Twitter: @clohesion

SENIOR LECTURER, DR DEE MICHELL, FROM UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE

Dee talks about wellbeing:

“Walking and writing are both keys to my well-being. 
There’s plenty of research which shows that physical activity boosts our ‘feel-good hormones’ and is important to mental health but I’m not going to get my ‘feel-good’ boost in the normal course of my sedentary job, so I have to deliberately exercise. Walking is easiest and cheapest, I can do it most days of the year in South Australia, and it gets me outside.
There’s some research about the emotional and health benefits of writing too. James Pennebaker (eg Opening Up by Writing it Down, 2016) in the US has been doing experiments for years, the crux of which is that if we can get our thoughts out of our head by writing them down, and express our emotions as we’re doing that, we’ll feel much better.
I find that even 10 minutes of writing over breakfast, setting out a plan, noting what’s bothering me, reflecting on what’s good, is enough to make me feel grounded and ready for the day. Sometimes, if there’s a lot going on, I’ll write for much longer, but the average is that 10 minutes.
The catch – and there’s always a catch – is that I don’t always want to go for a walk and I won’t take that 10 mins for writing. The catalyst may be overcast or cold weather (I’m cryophobic), or feeling in a time-crunch, or some old trauma that’s been reactivated. 
Then I get caught in a downward spiral, where I spend way too much time on the couch eating chocolate. And you know where that ends up…
Reading is where I head to for solace (even though these days it might have been reading trauma stories which plunged me into the abyss).  Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin say in their The Novel Cure that “sometimes its the rhythm of the prose that works on the psyche, stilling or stimulating.” I find that’s as true for reading work-related non-fiction (stimulating) as it is reading fiction (stilling).
When I’m in a really bad way, its spirituality – reading or podcasts – and usually New Thought, New Age and Buddhism, that gets me up and out for a walk and writing again.
Which makes me wonder if some sort of spiritual practice, like daily meditation, would be preventative. Perhaps I’ll give that a go in 2020.”

You can find Dee on Twitter: @DrDeeMichell

CARE CONVOS JANUARY 2020

THE NEXT #CARECONVOS WILL BE MONDAY 6th january 2020, 8PM AND THE TOPIC IS… *WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACHIEVE (INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY)?*

Pic from The Telegraph

Every year thousands of people make NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS and every year people give up or brand themselves as failures.

#CareConvos will not be asking anybody to make a New Yew Resolution! We’ll reflecting on 2019 and talking about achievable aims and how we can take steps to help change happen.

Is there a collective aim in the care experience community that you would like to be part of or to make others aware of? Or something you’d like to start up yourself? Share your ideas with us via Twitter and we’ll publish a list on the blog. Alternatively email: Rosie.canning@psy.ox.ack.uk

If you want to catch up on OUR 2019 #CARECONVOS:

Click on the link to be directed to a summary of what happened. 

Monday 2nd December: Support during transitions – i.e. primary to secondary school / out of care / post 25. Highlights via this MOMENT.

Monday 4th November: Relationships! You can see the highlights via this MOMENT.

Monday 7th October: Care experience and language. You can see the highlights via this Twitter MOMENT.

Monday 2nd September: how we might improve practice with care experienced people. Click here for: REFLECTIONS on #CareConvos Engaged Research.

Monday 5th August: how to support the education of children in care! You can see the highlights via this Twitter MOMENT. Or click here for: REFLECTIONS from #CareConvos

CARE CONVOS DECEMBER

THE NEXT #CARECONVOS WILL BE THIS MONDAY 2nd dec 2019, 8PM AND THE TOPIC IS… *SUPPORT DURING TRANSITIONS* i.e. primary to secondary school / out of care / post 25.

Some interesting reflections on transitions:

Wayne Belasis – Mini mackem mad man biffa!

Transition from care to independence was a big thing for me. Hands up, I massively underestimated how hard it was gonna be. Honestly I thought it was gonna be class, all the freedom, no rules, party at mine every night woop woop !! I think the staff at my last placement did try a bit to learn me things I needed but I wasn’t really having it, just like ‘I’ll be fine man’. I didn’t really have a clue. I suppose its an example of a transition that didn’t go well and I try to think about what went wrong, what I could of done different and what other people could of done different.
Within a short time I’d got in a right mess basically. Not managing money, getting in bother off the housing people for not being a good tenent. Neglecting myself a lot so I ended up affecting my health cos I was just being unhealthy and that, bad diet, bad habits, that sort of thing. Worst bit of all though was how alone I felt I honestly just felt abandonded by everyone. Yes I had personal advisor and the housing officer but that doesn’t help when you just need company or to talk or whatever. So I ended up knocking about with some people who I probablys should of kept away from just so I had people there. They werent even real friends, I knew it, but at least it was someone. In the end I had a break down cos of the whole thing. Don’t wanna finish on a bad note like I did pick myself up a bit again and now I’m coming to the transition of turning 25 (which I class as a kind of milestone) things are more settled.
But what might of stopped it coming to that point. I think it would of helped me to know what to expect so I got a realistic idea. Having people to talk through any worries. I reckon looking over the whole thing and planning better would of helped. Like if I had chance to think about what things I wanted to be different. I suppose transitions can be a good chance of a fresh start. But also to think about what things I wanted to stay the same including ideally what people will stick with me. That’s just some ideas I came up with trying to think back. Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way. That’s why I think it’s good having things like care convos so everyone can learn from that hard won knowledge that all different people got on their different ways. Maybes people will agree with my opinions maybes they wont. Either way looking forward to seeing what comes up in the chat.

You can find Wayne on Twitter: @wayne24536203

SENIOR LECTURER, DR DEE MICHELL, FROM UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE

When I think about transitions, I remember grief, and feeling stupid.
Feeling stupid: Back in the day when I moved from primary school to high school, we were still ‘streaming’ classes from the smartest students to the ‘dumbest’. I was plumb smack in the middle, in C = average. Until that moment I’d seen myself as pretty smart. I was usually top of my class, I’d been reading since forever, and I was confident in speaking up. Being streamed into the average class knocked my confidence and I think now it influenced me to take up the (girls only) ‘commercial stream’ – a 3 year prep for secretarial work – the following year, for students not planning to Matriculate or prepare for university.
Thank goodness streaming is gone, although we still kind of do that in regard to private/public schools and top ranking universities. 
When I started working for IBM in my 20s, I still remember the first day of not understanding what new co-workers were talking about because they spoke IBM-jargon. Jargon is well known for creating insiders and outsiders, and I was inside but still an outsider.
Recently a new colleague said he wasn’t going to talk in meetings because he didn’t understand what we were talking about – Uni of Adelaide-jargon! Now I do it!
In terms of support, my experience tells me we need caring insiders who can help make sense of the new environment for CEP children and young people, to introduce them to the new lingo and help them find their way around. My kids had ‘buddies’ when they went to high school, so something like a buddy system. At work now we have ‘peer mentors’, students who are further ahead who help support incoming students, show them around, help them out. Particularly important for First in Family students as parents prob won’t know what they need to know.
Grief: Transitions for me are always a time of grief, and that always catches me totally unprepared. The first significant time was when I first left home. I’d been in the one foster care home for 15 years, so it was home. Leaving was my decision but it was also a wrench as suddenly I felt without family. I began searching for birth family in earnest then (earlier I’d had some thoughts about it but not acted). I located some extended family.
The second time was after I left a long term relationship, 14 years later. I struggled for a year, not understanding why I felt so bad when leaving the relationship I knew to be a good decision. This time I went to counselling for a bit, did some writing, and connected with brothers and a sister I’d not seen since I was 3.
I don’t know how much literature there is around CEP and grief, but Rosemary Wanganeen, a member of the Stolen Generations in Adelaide, is onto something I think with her Australian Institute for Loss & Grief, https://www.lossandgrief.com.au/
If grief was triggered for me and Rosemary, and processing grief was helpful for us, it might be that other CEP need awareness and support around grief too. 

You can find Dee on Twitter: @DrDeeMichell

IAN DICKSON, RETIRED SOCIAL WORKER/OFSTED INSPECTOR

First of all – Let’s listen to the care experienced community. They – and only they – are the experts about the care experience. Each care experience is unique. There is no central truth. None of us, however articulate or experienced we may be, have a mandate or the vision to speak for the entire care community. We need to reach out and speak with as many care experienced people as we can, of all ages, in all settings, in all our glorious diversity. This process would need to be repeated regularly. That way lies knowledge and insight.

Secondly, let’s treat care for what it is – a continuous flowing process that starts on the day of admission to care and can last for many years into adulthood. “Care” isn’t defined by age or stage. The preparation for interdependence (which is what “independence” really is) must start on the first day in care. Children should be supported emotionally, practically, educationally and socially to be confident adults by their corporate parents. Those parents are a partnership between natural family where appropriate and every branch of local and national government and Society that will have an impact on the young person’s life.

The care leaving age should be at least 21. However, this cannot be simply more of the same care. Let’s build in real preparation for life whilst in care that engages the community. Let’s build in bespoke support for each young person that goes with them when they eventually choose to go into the community and may involve practical and financial support for further or higher education when the young person feels ready, and access to peer and professional support into adulthood as and when necessary.

The detail could be worked out by people much cleverer than me, but the underlying principle would be that the transition is an individual and elastic phenomenon based on individual need not an age or stage set by statute or convention. If we can achieve that, we have the roots of progress.

Let’s talk about transition by all means – but let’s be clear what we mean when we do.

You can find Ian on Twitter: @IDickson258

JOIN US FOR #CARECONVOS TO TALK ABOUT *SUPPORT DURING TRANSITIONS* THIS MONDAY 2nd dec 8PM! 

#CARE EXPERIENCED #FOSTER & #KINSHIP CARERS, #RESIDENTIAL CARE WORKERS, #EDUCATORS, #ADOPTOPTERS #ADOPTED #SOCIALWORKERS AND ALL PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE OR IN THE SYSTEM.

ALL WELCOME! WE’RE INTERESTED IN EVERYONE’S PERSPECTIVES. 

If there is anything about #CareConvos that affects you and you’d prefer to ask a question or make a point anonymously drop us an email at: rosie.canning@psy.ox.ac.uk and we’ll get back to you. #CareConvos

The GDPR introduced a right for individuals to have personal data erased. The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten‘. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. If you want to delete any of your tweets in #CareConvos, you can do that yourself. If they appear on the website, just ask and we will remove them.

*Painting from an original by James Coates

Care Convos November

The next #CareConvos will be this MonDAY 4th Nov 2019, 8pm and the topic is… *RELATIONSHIPS*.

Some interesting reflections on relationships from academics with care experience:

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, JACQUELINE Z WILSON FROM FEDERATION UNIVERSITY AUSTRALIA

For me the most difficult relationships were during my days at school when I was aged between 5 and 12. I went to about 20 primary schools due to so many moves – foster care; resi care; salvation army care; orphanage style care; emergency hostel care, on the streets with no care, et cetera. I never experienced forming long term school friends or getting to know a geographical area. There are so many rites of passage that so many people take for granted that I didn’t do  – I don’t feel sad or anything, just different– the quintessential outsider. I lived on and off with my mother too, who was also constantly on the move due to pretty extreme domestic violence and drugs. To this day I struggle with the idea of families that have long established friendship groups and relations who shared xmas, and or birthdays, and even went on holidays together — the taken for granted ways of doing things that a lot of us didn’t experience. I went on camp as a child – but it was a camp that was designed for poor/at-risk kids and I was hand-picked from the school by teachers and told I was to attend –  so even camp was weird, and there I was again, with a group of complete strangers aged 10. After 14 days at camp I went back to my mother, then back into care and so on. My own children have brilliant long-term relationships and old school friends. They are in their mid to late 20s now and I watch how they live with their well-established networks and friendship groups they have known since primary school –  for me it is just so wonderful to see, but also a stark reminder of what might have been. The trick is to take that feeling and make it positive. It’s not always easy. Mostly it is Ok, but there are days when you can fall down.

RESEARCH ASSISTANT, ROSIE CANNING FROM UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

Relationships in my life have never been straightforward! Trust has always been a huge issue. I don’t think that is a ‘bad’ thing, it is just part of the make-up of lived care experience. Many people in my past have let me down, that is a fact. But there have also been people who supported me, cared about me and loved me. I’m still in contact with some ‘old’ school friends and we meet up a few times a year. We know each other really well and there is a comfortableness that goes with our friendships. We can laugh, joke and cry if we need too.

I’d say a difficult period in my life re relationships was when my children were at school. I just couldn’t find a place to fit in. It felt like the choice was either a group of boozy, smoking swearering mums or middle-class mothers. My then husband encouraged one relationship and it was disastrous – she stole jewellery from us! It was awful and the trust issues became even worse. However, I did make a few good relationships in the area where I lived in North London. They were mainly middle-class in that they owned their own very expensive houses and we were the only council-house-family in the road, but overall they were very welcoming. It was a time when children still played in the street, the last generation I think. I look back with fondness and good memories. My children were loved and we had a lot of fun.

Through my writing and creative channels I now have many writing friends, a musician fella which is always a work-in-progress, some amazing #CEP friends, a close relationship with my daughter and grandchildren and a wonderful co-production relationship through the #CareConvos project. With age comes a comfortableness with who I am and it is this more than anything that has changed my life and given me a confidence to pursue friendships.

SENIOR LECTURER, DR DEE MICHELL, FROM UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE

What immediately came to mind when I saw this months #CareConvos topic – was an evening with the parents of my youngest daughter’s then best friend. I suppose Jemma would have been about 7 so I would have been about 46, and a competent woman. I ran a household, had begun a PhD, did part time paid work, and had published a couple of pieces. But I went into a curious anxious space when the conversation turned to family relationships. The other couple talked about their close knit families from a country town – close knit communities – and then they asked Tony about his family – and you don’t get more ‘normal’ and middle class than that. I got more and more concerned waiting to be asked about my family because then I’d have to out myself as a former foster kid in a setting of 3 ‘normal’ families. I’d be very much the odd one out.

It was curious, too, that they never got to asking anything about me – curious and a relief.

I’m not sure whether it was their lack of interest in me, or whether I wanted to go on avoiding outing myself, but I didn’t return the dinner invitation and invite the family over to ours! Which in retrospect was very rude of me.

Join us for #CareConvos to talk about RELATIONSHIPS this monday 4th Nov 8pm!

#CARE EXPERIENCED #Foster & #Kinship Carers, #Residential Care workers, #Educators, #Adoptopters #Adopted #SocialWorkers and all professionals working with young people or in the system.

all welcome! We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives.

#relationshipsmatter

If there is anything about #CareConvos that affects you and you’d prefer to ask a question or make a point anonymously drop us an email at: rosie.canning@psy.ox.ac.uk and we’ll get back to you. #CareConvos

The GDPR introduced a right for individuals to have personal data erased. The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten‘. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. If you want to delete any of your tweets in #CareConvos, you can do that yourself. If they appear on the website, just ask and we will remove them

Putting children in care and care experience
at the 💙 of our conversations.

#CareExperiencedWeek

Care Experienced Week is a celebration of all things care experienced and events are happening all over the UK.

Hundreds of people have marched through the streets of Glasgow for a “Love Rally” to show their support for those who have experienced care.

BBC.CO.UK 19/10/2019

The week kicked off with the amazing LOVE RALLY in Glasgow. You can read the account of Public Affairs Coordinator, Who Cares? Scotland Kenny Murray’s of why he attended HERE.

Inspired by ‘love’ and ‘relationships’ Chris Hoyle, Management Information Analyst, Widening Participation Evidence and Evaluation, University of York, did an online reference for North Yorkshire County Council, on Twitter about his foster parents and what they meant to him, and it went viral! 

The Care Experienced Conference team forged new relationships this week when the recently published reports were presented to the Secretary of State and Education Minister. Read more here.

This was followed by a press release from the Department of Education marking National Care Leavers Week. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced new cross-government support available to young people leaving the care system, alongside £19 million of investment into programmes that directly benefit care leavers.

If you want some chill time and haven’t yet seen ‘Unbelievable’ a Netflix series, which follows a young woman with very few meaningful relationships and who is accused of lying about a rape as two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks…watch it! The show is based on the true story of a Care Experienced woman, Marie. Who Cares? Scotland campaign “Who We Are” – about Care Experienced people examining how #CEP lives are represented in films, on TV, on radio, in books and in the news – has this to say: A Case Study on News Reporting.

One of the most important relationships in our lives is the one with ourselves! IMO (In My Opinion), will be sharing a sneak peak of replies from teens in care and care leavers all over the country to their new #dearfutureme campaign. They are asking teens in care and care leavers to write a message on a postcard to their future selves – ‘Dear future me’. You could use the postcards to offer advice and words of encouragement to your future self. 

This weekend it is the amazing #YourLifeYourStory event which welcomes those with care experience to get together, meet old friends and form new ‘relationships’ and take part in writing workshops. Your Life Your Story takes place Friday 25th-Monday 28th October 2019 – more details here YLYS-PROGRAM-2019.

There are many more events happening around the UK, just type hashtag #careexperiencedweek or #careleaversweek into Twitter or Google, and you’ll see the hundreds of amazing things that are happening to support and celebrate care experience and create new relationships.

Don’t forget to JOIN US for #CARECONVOS 4thNovember at 8.00pm to talk about RELATIONSHIPS. All welcome, we’re interested in EVERYONE’S perspectives. 

Reflections on #CareConvos: Engaged Research

Our second Twitter #CareConvos (September 2019) was about engagement in research and how researchers might do this better. There were many cracking comments (“Research into flavour of crisps easy. But giving yourself […] for research, harder to do”) as well as some very profound contributions. As ever I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time to come along and share their ideas.

Here’s our summary of the chat and recommendations for more engaged research:

  • Be relevant: understand the concerns of people on the ground, including care experienced children or adults, carers and professionals.
  • Be kind: build genuine and respectful relationships with people, and value their time, contributions and expertise
  • Be specific: about the aims of the research and what engagement activities will involve
  • Be explicit: about incentives, rewards and support provided
  • Be clear: communicate the research plainly and tell people what impact the research is having, including beyond the project end. And at every step of the research, write in plain English.
  • Be inclusive: seek out an advisory group of diverse people with lived experience to discuss ideas and guide research questions. This should include a conversation about the dataset and its content
  • Be collaborative: recruit people with experience of care, either as children or professionals, where possible. Their perspective is incalculable and you will build capacity in the field

Here are some of my favourite moments, with thanks to the authors:

“And please, for love of anything you love, speak plainly so everyone can understand.” @Clohesion

“Warmth, kindness, leaning in, truly valuing the participant researchers and showing the mutual #relationships of academics and participant researchers as central to the research. Demonstrate the process is as important as the outcomes e.g. the potential of community building” @Jamie_Crabb

“Agreeing to participate in research is to hope it helps an makes a difference to something close to your heart.” @JacqueMcCartney

None of this will be new to most of us in research, but somehow real participation is very much lacking in our field. We need to commit to doing this better.

Next steps

This #CareConvos really got me thinking about my work and what I can do differently. Most of my research involves analyses of pre-existing data (for example analysing government data), so the landscape for engagement is somewhat different. It is something I’m thinking about (more soon!).

But spurred on by September and October’s #CareConvos, something I have decided to do is to get feedback on my writing from the care community. This means asking at least one person, who could be care experienced, a foster carer or social worker, to read my work before it is published. Those interested might read a draft article for an academic journal, a study summary or my key messages. I will provide a reading guide for those who need it. Anyone who works with me will be acknowledged in the article.

I’m hoping that by integrating the feedback from the care community, my work may be more accessible, I will use more careful language and ultimately I might have greater reach. 

Let us know if you’ve heard of or been involved in any great initiatives to increase research engagement – we’re always keen to hear new ideas!

Get in touch on twitter or via our contact page!

#CareConvos October

Welcome!

WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO BE HOSTING OUR THIRD TWITTER CONVERSATION THIS EVENING (MON 7TH OCTOBER) FROM 8-9PM, JOIN US AT #CARECONVOS TO CHAT! 

Leading up to this months #CareConvos CARE EXPERIENCE AND LANGUAGE we posted examples of good and bad practice via Twitter. You can see those responses here. And see below the story of language used when #adoptee, DR JOSIE ORRELL PEARSE went to look at her files:

So in the eighties I was in touch  with the holders of my records from The National Adoption Society. I turned up at a porta-cabin behind an office building somewhere in Willesden to meet a social worker who gingerly showed me copies of my mothers letters, my file, and then took them all away again. This was 1986 and she was entitled to do that. She seemed very nice in many ways. It was policy though, she said, and allowed me to choose one letter that my mother had written. I could have the original. I chose the first one where she was pleading for help…’I want a good home for my little girl…’ It wasn’t the whole story.

Things evolved and changed and the next time I went…about 2005, to another office in Wembley, policy now allowed me to have my whole file – or at least mine and my mother’s and the documents that had been written by the workers in the children’s residential nursery.  My adoptive parents files were still not open.

It was really something. I came away with the original documents and the council kept copies in the archives.I had the whole thing. It took me a long time to go thru it so it was a while before I found the social workers’ record of the day at the porta-cabin in 1983.  She had painted a picture of me that upset me. Among other things she found it  necessary to describe me as ‘plain’. I had been a grown woman and yet she still felt she had the right or the necessity to describe my physical appearance in disparaging terms. In my baby-files I was described in unflattering terms too.

Why? For me its  all about objectification, a kind of dehumanisation…you can justify anything done to someone when you can distance yourself enough to pass judgement like that. Just thoughts.

Join us for #CareConvos to talk about language & care tonight! #Foster & #Kinship Carers, #Residential Care workers, #Educators, #Adoptopters #Adopted #SocialWorkers and all professionals working with young people or in the system, all welcome! We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives.

#AmIUsingtheRightWords

#WordsMatter

We acknowledge that one of the core issues with language is how words define people’s identify for them. While we believe this is a critical issue to discuss, we don’t feel that twitter is the place to do that in a safe way. So, this evening’s conversation will focus on language in research and practice, and how we can talk about the complex experience that is care with words that are more appropriate.

If there is anything about tonight’s chat that affects you and you’d prefer to ask a question or make a point anonymously drop us an email at: rosie.canning@psy.ox.ac.uk and we’ll get back to you. #CareConvos

The GDPR introduced a right for individuals to have personal data erased. The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten‘. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. If you want to delete any of your tweets in #CareConvos, you can do that yourself. If they appear on the website, just ask and we will remove them

Putting children in care and care experience
at the 💙 of our conversations.

#CareConvos September

Welcome!

Leading up to this months #CareConvos we posted some responses to the question WHY DO WE NEED RESEARCH? You can see those responses here.

WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO BE HOSTING OUR SECOND TWITTER CONVERSATION THIS EVENING (MON 2ND SEPT) FROM 8-9PM, JOIN US AT #CARECONVOS TO CHAT! 

These are some of the questions we’ll be thinking about:

  • Have you ever been involved in research and would you like to be?
  • How might we do research better, involve people more meaningfully and across the research cycle?
  • Do you know of any novel ways to engage people from recruitment all the way to dissemination?
  • How we can make research more accessible to care experienced people, practitioners and policy-makers?

We’re talking about how we might improve research practices, e.g. how we might do research better, involve people more meaningfully across the research cycle. 

We’re also interested in novel ways to engage people from recruitment all the way to dissemination. We will also talk about how we can make research more accessible to care experienced people, practitioners and policy-makers. 

We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives, whether you are a care experienced person, a carer, a social worker, teacher, work for a virtual school or in any other role with care experience people…and researchers!